The crash resulted in critical injuries to the driver of the passenger car and no injuries to either tractor-trailer driver. Trooper Robinson provided medical attention until arrival of firefighters and paramedics.
According to officials, a maroon 1997 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Thelma M. Tiefel, 90, Clay City, was traveling westbound in the driving lane and attempted to make an illegal U-turn in the paved cross over near the 22-mile marker. As the vehicle made a left turn from the driving lane, a westbound 2005 Freightliner tractor pulling a box trailer driven by Jose A. Tello, 37, Laredo, Texas, was in the passing lane and struck the Malibu in the driver's side.
The initial impact forced the Malibu back into the driving lane, striking the driver's side of a box trailer being pulled by a 2010 Freightliner tractor driven by Earl G. Mattingly, 47, Brookville, Ind.
Tiefel had was extricated by Posey and Jackson Township Fire departments and airlifted from the scene to Wishard Hospital, Indianapolis.
Tiefel suffered head injuries and is believed to be in critical condition, according to officials. Troopers do not believe she was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Tello was driving for Rabco International of Laredo, Texas. Mattingly was driving for Transport America of Minneapolis, Minn.
The tractor driven by Tello immediately caught fire and was fully engulfed in flames before the arrival of area fire departments.
The eastbound lanes were initially closed as rescue personnel believed the contents of the trailer (acrylic polymer substances) were hazardous.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management dispatched a hazardous clean-up crew. The clean-up is expected to last into the early morning hours of Wednesday, with the passing lane remaining closed.
No violations were noted for either tractor-trailer driver and no citations were issued as of yet for any driver.
The Indiana State Police wanted to remind motorists that making U-turns on the Interstate highway system is illegal and highly dangerous.
Assisting at the crash site were numerous troopers from the Putnamville Post, Clay County Sheriff's Office, Clay County Search/Rescue, Clay County Emergency Management, Posey, Jackson and Lewis Township Fire departments, Trans Care EMS, Air-Evac Medivac, Indiana Department of Transportation, VCARE Haz Mat and Poor Boys Wrecker Service.